Tuesday 30 July – Failand Leader: Gareth Roberts

Eleven intrepid walkers were not deterred by the forecast thunderstorms. In the event they passed us by, and despite some rain the conditions were mainly dry and warm. The farm at the start of the walk was productive as usual, we had five Swallows and the first of 17 House Martins, with two still active martin nests on the farm house. There were also Dunnocks, Linnets, and the first of 31 Goldfinches, in three charms. It was pleasing to record a Stock Dove and a Grey Wagtail. In the woods leading to our coffee stop there were two Chiffchaffs and two Long-tailed Tits. A Mistle Thrush was spotted and then three more, presumably a family group, giving good views. Further woodland yielded views of two Nuthatches, and the ‘yaffle’ of two Green Woodpeckers although these kept out of sight. Coal Tit was heard and two Great Tits were seen. A Jay and Buzzard contributed to our total of 27 species. There were some fine Monkey Puzzle trees with impressive “cones” by the track through the Tyntesfield estate, but sadly there were no specialist birds, brave enough to tackle them, in evidence. (Thanks to Gareth for leading – Ed.) Gareth Roberts